Ten galleries. Infinite possibilities. From Alexander Graham Bell to Zandra Rhodes, this year we're showcasing the very best of our internationally important collections in decorative art, design, fashion, science and technology. Our new galleries champion excellence and innovation – an inspiration for the scientists, engineers, artists and designers of today and tomorrow.

More than 3,000 objects fill four Art, Design and Fashion galleries and six Science and Technology galleries. Many of these haven’t been on display in a generation. And with almost 150 interactive displays, films and touchscreens, there are plenty of opportunities to get hands on and delve deeper into the collections. How do you fancy trying your hand at fashion design, building a bicycle or testing your driving skills in a Formula 1 car simulator?


You can see what visitors had to say about the new galleries on our opening day here:

Art and Design

Our new Fashion and Style gallery tells the story of fashion from 18th century court dresses to contemporary catwalk creations. Making and Creating reveals the techniques and inspirations behind the work of arts makers and designers, from Paolozzi to Picasso, while Design for Living explores the ideas that shaped a century of design, from the Great Exhibition to the Festival of Britain. Want to know how the other half lived? Visit the opulent Art of Living gallery to sup wine from the astronomical Hamilton-Rothschild Tazza and take tea with the Emperor Napoleon’s tea service

 Fashion and Style

Above: The catwalk in the Fashion and Style gallery. Photo © Peter Dibdin.

The Meissen lion in the Art of Living gallery

Above: The Meissen lion in the Art of Living gallery. Photo © Peter Dibdin.

You can find out more about our Art, Design and fashion galleries here.

Science and Technology 

Thanks to a grant of £1.3 million from Wellcome, our Science and Technology galleries will reveal the secrets of biomedical science, and include the return of science superstar Dolly the Sheep in Explore, our hands-on gallery that brings science alive for all the family.

Making It reveals how manufacturing and engineering have changed our lives, while Technology by Design shows problems solved through innovative inventions. Communicate traces the history of telecommunications from semaphore to smartphones, and Enquire reveals how scientists have sought to answer fundamental questions. Discover the sources, generation and use of energy in Energise – and generate your own power in our giant hamster wheel!

Can you power our giant hamster wheel?

Above: Can you turn our giant hamster wheel? Photo © Peter Dibdin.

Copper cavity from CERN

Above: Copper accelerating cavity from CERN.

You can find out more about the Science and Technology galleries here.

Making the Museum

How do you get more than 3,500 objects ready for display in ten brand new galleries?

Discover the secrets of our treasures with Making the Museum. This is the tale of how our curators and conservators applied stitches to a porcelain Meissen lion, gave Percy Pilcher’s Hawk its wings once more, and uncovered surprising stories along the way.

Science engagement

Across the Science and Technology galleries, real objects and engaging interpretation tell inspiring stories about scientists, technologists and engineers including those with Scottish connections, past and present.

Wellcome funding is helping us create a Scottish centre for scientific engagement, inspiring visitors through Scotland’s world-class collections of science and technology and making the Museum a major hub for science communication and dialogue.

The topics covered include the science of genetics (with Dolly the sheep a focal point), the development of new pharmaceuticals (including the work of Scottish Nobel Prize winning scientist Sir James Black to develop Beta Blockers and other medicines) and advances in prosthetics and body implants. Contemporary developments form a key element of the displays, with a strong focus on encouraging debate and discussion.


You can find out more about the award from Wellcome here.

Ancient Egypt and East Asia

The development is the third stage of an ambitious £80 million Masterplan to restore the much loved Victorian building to its former grandeur, reveal the remarkable treasures of National Museums Scotland’s collections and create inspiring visitor experiences. We also plan to develop two further galleries at the National Museum, to present our ancient Egyptian and East Asian collections. Both of these collections are internationally important and amongst the finest in the UK.

A new Ancient Egypt gallery will explore the complexity and diversity of this fascinating culture. The East Asia gallery will highlight major themes in the region’s arts, culture and history, enabling visitors to encounter and be inspired by the richness, depth, and diversity of the culture of China, Japan and Korea. These two galleries are scheduled to be completed in 2018.

To make way for these new galleries, the Ancient Egypt and Looking East galleries are now closed.

You can find out more about these new galleries here.

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New galleries opening day

Catch up with all the action on the opening day of our new Art, Design and Fashion and Science and Technology galleries.
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